Rules and resolution: I have a code that I live by.
My Rules
Thursday, 19 July 2012 09:41 Hrs
❝ I have a code that I live by.

It’s the result of observation, listening and making mistakes. [1] Mistakes tend to have consequences, so I make mental notes, then move on. Unexplained, my rules might appear obscure, stupid even. The stories and reasoning behind them aren’t.

Rule Six: Got COM?

I hadn’t seen Bill for years. I ran into him one morning on a crowded exit ramp of a train station. That week we organised to have a few drinks after work at a Pub in the city and talked shop until it was time to leave. Then he asked,

❝ ‟Got COM?”, ‟Got COM?”

then more insistently,


I looked at him thinking, ‟Starship Troopers”? [2] He smiled and then looked at me dead seriously and explained it doesn’t matter where you are, always have your COMS at the ready. It had been drilled into Bill to always be contactable, be it in the field at work or the Pub. Years later I’ packed it. It’s the same first aid kit I always carry, modified depending on where I’m going. Only pack reliable items. Pack your own kit, old over new.

Rule 18: CVS2BVS

When you’re in the knee deep in shite, CVS2BVS is your best friend. That’s what Ian reckons. [6] I’d attended a course on psychology and thinking called ‟SOT” for work. I was skeptical, a lot of the ideas appeared counter intuitive. But one idea Ian coined CVS2BVS is very useful. Ian made us repeat this, CVS2BVS, CVS2BVS, CVS2BVS*, just to drum it in. The translation?

❝ Current View of Situation 2 Best View of Situation

How does it work? If you visualise not just where you are at the present, but where you need to be, you are free to concentrate on the path to a solution. CVS2BVS.

Rule 38: Always carry water

It’s first light, Moose, Colin and myself are already on the move. I’ve topped up, gulping down three mugs of water in quick succession. I can’t drink any more. The early morning mist is leaving water droplets on my jacket but after a few kilometers, I start warm up and finish the first of many water bottles for the day. Every hour or so I’ll drink another bottle and top it up.

We move between five and six kilometers per hour. Thirty kilometers takes about six hours. That’s a lot of water. After lunch we join up with a few others. Moose notices they aren’t drinking enough and encourages them to start drinking. Even if they don’t feel like it. He then explains the consequences if you don’t.

❝ First your blood volume drops, then you get dizzy and disorientated and your decision making is impaired. The first stages of dehydration. If you are dehydrated you won’t be able to keep up.

❝ To guard against dehydration, you HAVE to drink at least one 600ml bottle every hour you’re moving. A good check, at each piss-break get your mate to check for colour. Straw yellow is good, clear is best. That’s how seriously you have take hydration moving these distances in this terrain.

The last bit doesn’t go down well, a few odd stares. End of lecture. Everyone nods, we keep drinking. [7]

Rule 42: The trained run towards trouble

It’s a warm Friday evening and mums and dads are winding down after a hard week at work. Kids in club uniforms are waiting to compete. All eyes look in the same direction as the sound of the starter pistol cracks over the noise of the crowd. Me, I’ve spent the afternoon cooking in a blur of sausages and hamburgers. The high pitch scream of a V8 engine grabs my attention. It’s going fast, way over the limit. Not good in the narrow suburban streets decked with cars. Then comes the sounds you don’t want to hear. Rubber loosing grip, metal on metal and the final crash as the car jumps the curb, smashing a fence, destroying a bus shelter.

It’s silent as Hicks—law kicks in and people are deciding how to react.[8] The first group remains silent and freeze. The second can’t grasp what has happened are visibly shaken and loose control. Random women start screaming, instinctively looking for their kids. The third group react without hesitation and run with purpose towards the car. As I observe this, I adjust and ease off.

Half a dozen short back and sides swarm over the car. The driver has begun to get up. The first two on site, force the driver back into his seat. Others check around the car and bus shelter for survivors. I reckon a dozen calls to the emergency services were made in the minutes after the accident. If the callers had looked carefully, they’d have realised, first responders were already at the scene. [9]

This is a pattern you see time and time again. When there’s a dangerous situation requiring attention, the trained run towards trouble.


[1] seldomlogical, ‟Rules and resolutions”, [Accessed Wednesday 17th, July 2012]

[2] In Starship Troopers - A 1997 film directed by Paul Verhoeven, based on the book of the same name by Robert A. Heinlein - you can hear the lead scream, ‟got Com?” just as the bugs over-run the FOB. [Accessed Wednesday 17th, July 2012]

[3] Don’t panic. At this point I could have panicked! Don’t panic should be written in big letters across your diary. I didn’t panic. I sat down, then stood up, had a cup of tea. This is how I took these shots. Then sat down again and thought carefully before I did anything. This is important because I was a long way up, trees where sparse, the ground wet.

[4] You can see the lace-up I describe here and here. Kilcunda is a small seaside town around one hundred and twenty kilometers south east of Melbourne, Victoria. [Last Accessed: Wednesday 17th, July 2012]

[5] I was tired after a long climb up Bowden Spur, over a decade before this shot was taken. I knew Chris lived in the area so I hiked a few more kilometers till I got to his house for a much needed afternoon tea. It was here that Chris told me of a more serious packing mistake. He’d made arrangements to travel.

He was in South America. A pretty wild place at the best of times, but Chris was cautious. He told his maid that he’d be away for a couple of weeks and assuming it would be local, the maid didn’t think twice packing the Walther and a spare clip into a suitcase. But Chris wasn’t traveling local, he was taking a direct flight to the UK, skipping Heathrow and flying straight to Manchester. The security wasn’t as tight then. It was only when he got home that he realised what he’d done.

[6] wikipedia, Michael Hewitt-Gleeson, ‟PhD Lateral Thinking 1980 and SOT. Ian credits SOT with his training as a PO and service in 1st AFT, Vietnam.”, [Last Accessed: Wednesday 17th, July 2012]

[7] The environment dictates what type of water you need? On hot days it’s much easier to drink cooled water. Moving long distances in the heat? Add ‟Green Slime”, my name for electrolytic additives such as Gatorade. Cold? I make sure I pack some ‟hot” water because that extra calorific boost can be the difference between good decisions and bad ones. As you might guess we carried our own water. This is one way to guarantee it’s quality though not always practical.

[8] Hicks law is defined as the time taken to make decisions for given choices. In this case the response was around one second. [Last Accessed: Thursday 2nd August, 2012]

[9] The result: One person injured and thankfully nobody was at the bus stop or walking on the pavement. An arrest resulted for the driver. The charges, DUI, reckless driving and possession. A drug stash was discovered in the boot. The driver made a mistake crashing at a local sporting event. In attendance were at least half a dozen, off-duty Victorian Police officers.


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